A New Culinary Concept From The Owners of Cosimo’s – Now Open on The Banks of The Hudson River in Newburgh.
If you’re like me, then there’s one of two choices when considering a lunch date or night out; It’s either the familiar place that you know and love, or the hot new spot that you just have to try. So, when my friend messaged me recently and informed me that the owners of Cosimo’s, a Hudson Valley favorite for generations, were opening a new taco joint in Newburgh, the decision was an easy one.
As we planned our visit I had so many questions going through my mind. The site itself, on the shores of the Hudson River in an old, repurposed train station certainly piqued my curiosity. What was the inspiration to branch out into Mexican cuisine? Can the new place live up to the high standard that Cosimo’s has set?
“Hudson Taco is a very fun, social concept designed for sharing.”
When I arrived, the first thing that struck me was the setting: just absolutely stunning natural scenes, with a back drop of the Hudson River lazily transporting it’s ice filled waters past the Hudson Highlands. If that wasn’t enough to set the mood, as I made my way to the entrance from the convenient street-side parking, a freight train chugged its way on the tracks between the restaurant and the river, seemingly racing the flowing icebergs to their eventual destination in NYC. The romantic that I am, this was an impressive start to the experience.
Once inside, Hudson Taco did not disappoint. Exposed brick, vaulted ceilings, panoramic window views of the river and surrounding mountains… the vibe was welcoming and the energy palpable. Tables and booths were mostly full, with attractive and friendly staff buzzing about. Elevated, yet unpretentious ambiance isn’t the easiest atmosphere to create, but I have to say Hudson Taco nails it.
Before digging into the fare and sampling a few cocktails, we caught up with co-founder Nick Citera to learn a bit more about what he and partner Nicholas DiBrizzi had in mind when creating Hudson Taco.
“Our families have owned restaurants in the Hudson Valley for over 30 years, mostly Italian based.” Citera explains, “With Hudson Taco we tried to venture out, do something a little bit different. We love Mexican food, and we came up with a concept that we loved… designed to be social, friendly, and shareable. Call it an eclectic taqueria.”
What was the inspiration behind Hudson Taco?
“Were a restaurant bred family. I’ve been in the business since age 13, and that’s a long time.” Citera states with a chuckle. “Nicholas (Dibrizzi) also started very young, and we’ve both always owned restaurants and we dine out a lot. You see what’s missing in your area, and you go to other areas and they have something that we don’t, it makes you want to try it.”
“I think what makes our taqueria different is that it’s not just inspired by Mexican cuisine, it’s really a fusion of cuisines,” he added. “We have a lot of Asian inspired dishes, with the Korean barbecue short ribs, and the shaved ribeye also has a soy based marinade with a bit of an Asian flair to it.”
Does Hudson Taco collaborate or source from the local community?
“We did a collaboration with Newburgh Brewery to create ‘Amaizing,’ a corn lager, and the corn for the beer is sourced through out the Hudson Valley. We also use Murray’s Chicken and Hudson Valley Cattle Company, it’s all locally sourced. And the vegetables in the summertime we will be buying from the local farmers.”
“We’re very proud to be part of the revitalization of Newburgh. We think Newburgh is an amazing city.”
What would you say is your signature dish?
“Right now, it’s hard to say what the signature dish is because everything is so new. I have to say that our chefs Jason Kooperman and Matt Sherry did an amazing job with the flavors, and it’s almost mind-boggling to the point where if you try all the tacos, each and every one has an amazing flavor profile.”
What about a signature drink?
“Definitely the Blood Orange Margarita and the Baby Blue are some of the top sellers.”
Is there a favorite from the dessert menu?
“Everyone loves churros.” Says Citera with a smile. “We have a really good homemade bittersweet chocolate sauce with the churros, and a local jam, so it really works well with dipping and sharing, because the concept is really about having fun, sharing, and getting to try different things.”
What is your long term vision for Hudson Taco?
“We want to make this as amazing of a concept as possible. Hopefully it can follow in the footsteps of Cosimo’s.”
“We’re very proud to be part of the revitalization of Newburgh.”
After our chat and exchanged pleasantries, I could not wait to taste the vast array of flavors that were jumping out at me from the menu.
Before we could finish our Blood Orange and Baby Blue margaritas, from the kitchen came fresh guacamole, the quintessential starter for any Mexican meal.
This was quickly followed by incredible salmon ceviche and blistered shishito peppers, both fresh and light options that excite the palette.
Next up, a tray of a dozen assorted tacos. From cauliflower, to citrus shrimp, to Korean BBQ shortrib, and so many more, each taco was unique in flavor. They seemed to progress from light and citrusy to deep and savory, and it was interesting to discuss with my friend this playful journey of flavor from one taco to the next.
Out came Empanada and Street Corn, and of course we had to try the Amazing corn lager collaboration from Newburgh Brewery. Let me tell you, the beer is more than just an outstanding pun, it really is a fantastic lager and dare I say, a “must try.”
This may sounds like a lot of food, and indeed it is, but with each item being only a couple of bites, it encourages you to taste different morsels and sample more flavor profiles, while chatting with your friends about what your favorites are. If Hudson Taco’s concept is as Nick says, “fun, social, and designed for sharing,” then the concept is definitely realized.
Just make sure you save room for dessert.